We are often unaware of our sense of smell: many people only notice it when it is temporarily absent. For example, during a heavy cold we notice that everything feels remote, and that food has no taste. This is because 80 percent of what we taste comes from our sense of smell; only 20 percent comes from the tongue. If someone loses their sense of smell permanently, this can actually cause severe depression. Why? Because we rely very deeply on the sense of smell to add richness and vitality to our experience of the world around us.
Smells register via the nose as we breathe, traveling up the nostrils and triggering nerve impulses which fire instantly into the brain. Thousands of these reactions occur daily, even when we are asleep. Smells have a strong influence on our well-being because they affect areas inside the brain linked to moods, emotions or feelings, as well as chemical balances in the body. So, aromas which make you feel mentally calm also trigger internal chemical changes, relaxing your body. Fragrances which are more revitalizing stimulate the brain, wake you up and give you a feeling of energy.
Some impulses received by the sense of smell affect areas deep inside the brain which are beyond conscious awareness; very often reactions to smells are expressed as non-verbal sounds such as “mmmm” or “urgh!”. These show that our responses to smells are instinctive, a simple “like” or “dislike”.
Read on to discover how you can experience the art of aromatherapy yourself and choose the products suitable for you to fragrance your environment.